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Biden admin announces $15M in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians

Biden admin announces $15M in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians
© Greg Nash

The Biden administration will be providing $15 million in humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the first major aid delivery under the new president.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-GreenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldUS preparing more than 0 million in aid for Palestinians Five reasons why America needs to pay its peacekeeping bill Biden admin announces M in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians MORE announced the assistance in her remarks Thursday to the U.N. Security Council Briefing on the situation in the Middle East.

“For our part, President BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE is restoring U.S. assistance programs that support economic development and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people. Specifically, the United States is pleased to announce today $15 million in humanitarian assistance to support the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank and Gaza.”

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The aid will be distributed through the U.S. Agency for International Development and will go in part to the international humanitarian agency Catholic Relief Services’ work in the region, to the COVID-19 response efforts in health care facilities and affected communities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Assistance will also support emergency food assistance programs in communities facing food insecurity that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, the State Department said in a statement.

The former Trump administration had made available $5 million in humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians in April 2020 in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the former administration had in 2018 eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. assistance to the Palestinians and the main U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees and severed contact with Palestinian officials, shutting their representative offices in Washington.

President Biden as a candidate promised to restore relations with the Palestinian Authority, the internationally-recognized representatives of Palestinians and restart assistance to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

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Thomas-Greenfield said in her remarks at the Security Council meeting that the $15 million in assistance is part of the Biden administration’s “renewed commitment to the Palestinian people.”

She added that the U.S. is committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians take steps toward a two-state solution, “one in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state.”

But Thomas-Greenfield also chided the council on a disproportionate focus on Israel and said the U.S. “steadfastly” stands by Israel.

“Let me be clear: not all criticism of Israel is illegitimate. But too often, that criticism veers dangerously into anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism, as with all forms of hate, works directly against the cause of peace. So we will vigorously oppose one-sided efforts,” she said.